Friday, January 18, 2013

Favorite Song Friday: Sick of Myself

When DT first suggest Favorite Song Friday, I immediately thought, "you're an idiot." But, to be fair, that's only because that's always my first thought every time he suggests something and, again, to be fair, only because he is. (The fact that he's less of an idiot than I is immaterial.)

My second thought: wow, great idea. Love it.

My third: what'll my first favorite song be?

My fourth and last ever thought: duh.

When it comes to things I really love, it's not unusual for me to not know how I feel about it for a while. I rarely go from disliking something to loving it, or even from liking it okay to loving it, but I very often go from "I don't know how I feel about this" to "oh my God, I love this."

"Sick of Myself" is not one of those. It's one of those fairly rare instances where I fall deeply, madly, head over heels in love within seconds.

I loved the opening, the chicken scratch guitar count off, instantly. By the time the chord progression had been played through once, I was all in. When the entire band kicks a few seconds later, I was ready for marriage. By the time we got to the first line of the chorus I'd amended my will. By the end of the second chorus, with its cool extra line in the minor, I'd transfered all my earthly possessions. And after the entire thing was over—including not one but two false endings! two of them, for pete's sake!—I had my tantō in hand, ready to disembowel myself, if that's what the song demanded. Fortunately (for me, at least), it didn't.

I'm not exaggerating. (Okay, well, maybe slightly.) The first time I put it on the stereo, as the count off started, I remember nodding my head. When the guitar started, I actually said out loud, "oh my GOD." We were made for each, this song and I.

Everything about this song is amazing. The melody is irresistible without being cloying, the lyrics are clever yet insightful (an interesting and rare look at the way early infatuation can actually make one question one's own self-image) without ever veering close to the pretentious, and the playing is simply spectacular—including the incendiary Richard Lloyd playing a bitingly angular solo that would seem completely out of place in such a poppy tune, yet which instead manages to elevate the entire thing emotionally and conceptually.

I've listened to this song hundreds of times and I don't think I've ever been in any mood where I wouldn't be delighted to hear it. A song like this—or pretty much his entire Girlfriend album, an utter masterpiece—makes you think Matthew Sweet would and could have been heir to the Brian Wilson/Paul McCartney pop-rock crown, something which clearly didn't happen. At times that seems like it's a shame. But when you've got even one gem this flawless, well, that's more than enough.

1 comment:

  1. It is wonderful. That album is such a big part of my 20s. Thanks for the flashback. Wanna see something awesome? Matthew Sweet performing the Big Star classic September Gurls with Mike Mills. Heavenly.